In addition to giving thanks, the Thanksgiving holiday has become known for family, friends, food, football, and fun. It’s a great chance for people to be with family and friends and enjoy themselves. You want to make sure elderly individuals can participate in holiday festivities as well but need to make sure safe and appropriate for them.
It can be tough to figure out what activities seniors can do for Thanksgiving if they live on their own and not within a community. Whether going somewhere to celebrate, caregivers can help by making sure the elderly individuals they care for have something to do.
Here are some Thanksgiving activities for seniors and caregivers.
1. Help with Cooking
Cooking isn’t a suitable activity for all elderly individuals, but for seniors who are capable of helping with meal preparation, it’s a great activity to do on Thanksgiving day. Having elderly relatives assist in making the meal gives them an opportunity to contribute to what is often regarded as a grand highlight of the holiday.
Keep in mind that many cooking tasks can be dangerous, so be mindful and cautious when letting seniors help with the cooking. Give elderly individuals safer, simpler tasks to do like stirring batter. These little things may not seem significant, but it allows seniors to feel needed and involved.
2. Make Thanksgiving Crafts
From simple to complex, there is a myriad of crafts that you can have elderly individuals, and they make great Thanksgiving activities for seniors. It allows them to create and accomplish something. Seniors can do something as simple as creating and decorating a hand-traced turkey out of paper or getting a foam craft kit from an arts and craft store. You can do something more complex like using paper and other materials to decorate a gourd to be a turkey.
The great thing about doing Thanksgiving crafts is that it’s also a social activity. Seniors can do the crafts with their caregiver or with grandchildren and other family members. It can be an individual project or a collaborative activity.
3. Take Time to Be Grateful
The holiday is called Thanksgiving, so why not spend, at least, part of the day going over what you’re thankful for. You can simply have seniors jot down the things and people they are thankful for, or you can have them be more elaborate. If the elderly individual is up for it, then they can spend some time writing thank you notes for their loved ones and others they’re grateful for. Either way, this gives seniors the opportunity to reflect on their lives.
If you want to actually send the letters, then seniors could write the letters prior to Thanksgiving so they can arrive in time for Thanksgiving Day. Otherwise, elderly individuals can spend Thanksgiving writing the letters. Add some creativity to this activity by decorating paper to make homemade stationary.
If you want it to be a group activity, consider gathering everyone, and have each person mention a few things that they’re thankful for.
4. Spend Time with Family and Friends
The holidays are a great time to spend quality time with your family and friends, because everyone cannot always be together. That said, elderly individuals — and really everyone — should take the time to spend time with one another. It seems like a simple and obvious activity, but it doesn’t happen as often as it should. This is especially the case now with people often opting to spend time on their phones, scrolling through social media and playing games.
Seniors should spend their time enjoying their loved one’s presence, catch up with them, and make some memories. Elderly individuals should make conversation with others and see how they’re doing. Talk with grandkids to learn more about their lives and current interests. Play games with others, and have some fun.
Not only does this let seniors make some memories with loved ones, but their loved ones will have memories with their elderly relatives. This is especially valuable, because family members have fond memories to cherish and look back on when elderly loved ones have passed.
Companion Care for Seniors
Regardless of age, the holidays are a time to have fun and celebrate. But for elderly individuals, this can be difficult, especially if they do not have family or friends nearby with whom they can spend Thanksgiving. In such a case, elderly individuals may feel lonely and even depressed.
There are a number of home care services available, one of which includes companion care services, that seeks to combat feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression. Within these services, seniors are assigned a caregiver who provides companionship and senior home care. On Thanksgiving, your elderly loved ones will have company, whether they’re planning to remain home or see family.
For seniors living far away from their relatives, having a caregiver present in the home can provide some great peace of mind. For the activities of daily living (ADLs) with which they are struggling, an in-home caregiver can aid with these tasks, filling in where needed.
When working with a home care agency, they will first schedule a free, in-home consultation to discuss the needs of the senior, followed by creating a custom home care plan, and finally assigning a caregiver to serve as a home aide and companion. This way, families living further away from their elderly relatives will have peace of mind that their loved one is safe and happy on Thanksgiving.